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Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Mar 1;28(5):665-72.

Survival of hippocampal and cortical neurons in a mixture of MEM+ and B27-supplemented neurobasal medium.

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Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536-0230, USA.


Serum-free B-27 supplemented neurobasal (NB) and a 10% fetal bovine serum-supplemented Eagle's minimum essential medium (MEM+) are used to culture rat embryonic hippocampal neurons for different purposes. Although NB medium leads to enhanced cell survival, it contains biological antioxidants and is not suitable for the study of free radical damage and oxidation in cultured neurons. MEM+ without additional antioxidants has been used widely in the study of free radical damage and oxidation, although it does not support optimum neuronal survival in culture. Serum in MEM+ leads to enhanced cell survival but also promotes glial cell proliferation. In this study, we used a new combination medium (NM-2) that consists of both NB and MEM+ for growing primary hippocampal and cortical neuronal cultures. NM-2 enhanced neuronal survival 78.9% for dissociated neurons at a density of 50 cells/mm(2) and 83.1% for 100 cells/mm(2), while decreasing glial cell proliferation to 2-3% and completely inhibiting oligodendrocytes. The NM-2 minimized the effectiveness of antioxidants in the medium to the neurotoxin 4-hydroxynonenal. It also decreased neuronal clumping and provided a more even distribution of neurons. Neurons survived for 4 weeks in NM-2 without changing the original medium. NM-2 provides a good environment for studies of free radical damage and oxidation of neurons. The combination incorporates the best of both NB and MEM+ that results in high neuron survival rate, low glial cell proliferation, reduced antioxidant level, and provides relatively pure cultures of hippocampal and cortical neurons.

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